Minutes: March 9, 2011


MINUTES OF THE ERINDALE COLLEGE COUNCIL meeting held on Wednesday March 9th, 2011, at 3:15 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, William G. Davis Building

Present: A. Wensley (in the Chair), D. Saini, P. Donoghue, A. Mullin, U. Krull, M. Mavrinac, M. Overton, C. Boyd, A. Burnett, C. Capewell, D. Kreuger, J. Lim, J. McCurdy-Myers, B. McFadden, D. Mullings, L. Paris, A. Vyas, L. Barber, M. Berger, A. Birkengergs, C. Bryson, L. Gaspini, D. Hill, K. Horvath, D. Iafrate, R. Lala, L. Oliver, M. Meth, I. Whyte, D. Di Censo, T. Braukmann, M. Zandawala, L. Bailey, A. Lange, P. Macdonald, N. Woolridge, M. Pilar Galvez, J. Delves, H. Mohyeldin, G. Yuen, S. Arhm, J. Boutilier, A. Madhavji, S. Sumra

Regrets: D. Crocker, I. Still, R. Beck, I. Di Millo

In attendance: E. Kobluk

1. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting (January 26, 2011)

A member remarked that some questions were not included. It was noted that only new points were included and thus not all questions would be included. The Chair asked the member to submit his concerns to the Secretary so that they can be reviewed and included if deemed relevant. Approval of the minutes was postponed until the next meeting.

2. Reports of Standing Committees and Officers

a) Resource Planning & Priorities Committee: Report of February 14, 2011-Professor Lee Bailey

Professor Bailey advised that on February 14th RPPC heard updates on Capital Projects, the Master Plan and the 2011-12 Budget from the Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Paul Donoghue. He asked Mr. Donoghue to provide Council with a summary of the updates.

i) Update from the Chief Administrative Officer: Mr. Paul Donoghue

Mr. Donoghue presented an overview of the current and future capital projects attached hereto as Appendix A.

Mr. Donoghue reported on the progress of the Instructional Centre. He advised that substantial work has been scheduled for completion by April 15, 2011. The building currently stands at 98.5% completion. He noted that the geothermal is up and running and pointed out the significance of the photovoltaic solar panels in terms of architecture as well as the UTM "go green" initiative. He concluded by advising that the building is into the final finishing work and July 1, 2011 is the scheduled date for move in.

He then presented the Medical Academy and noted that the construction had met with many challenges and setbacks that had created delays. He was happy to report that the gap between the original and actual dates for completion is slowly decreasing and that the building is now only 4 weeks behind the original schedule.

There were no questions.

Mr. Donoghue then provided an update of the Master Plan attached hereto as Appendix B.

Mr. Donoghue reviewed the Master Plan that was approved by ECC last May. He noted that it continues to undergo the approval process at St. George. He explained that the master plan has been devised not only for short term development but also as a blue print for future expansion. He advised that capital funding is unpredictable so expansion is driven by the funding that becomes available.

He reviewed the major building envelopes making note of the slight change to envelope 3. He explained that this will be a large undertaking and as such will be broken into three segments. To make the most of capital during the initial phase, the highest section of envelope 3, which is projected to be 4 - 6 stories in height, has been moved so that it is the first to be completed. He advised that there are currently two government requests. The first is for $50M for phase 1 of the North Building (envelope 3) reconstruction, and the second is a $25M request for laboratory development in the Davis Building.

He concluded by advising that UTM has received approval to form two committees. One for phase 1 of the North Building, and the second is for phase two of the renovation of the old library space. He explained that it is important to form the committees even though funding has not been confirmed because it will ensure that the planning is well underway when funds do become available.

There were no questions.

Mr. Donoghue advised Council that the 2011-12 Budget had been finalized. His update is attached hereto as Appendix C.

Mr. Donoghue advised that we have now received the final budget from St. George. He offered to speak to the entire university budgeting process either at an upcoming ECC or RPPC meeting should members be interested. Mr. Donoghue then reminded Council that he had committed to report back after the SARG meeting. He advised that the ancillary budgets were considered by SARG. As promised he reported the concerns raised by students to the chair of SARG, however there was no resolution offered.

He then spoke to the current situation and explained that funding for higher education is flat and decreasing. He noted that the framework for provincial tuition is regulated and although UTM has strong enrolment the budget is tied to the entire university. He advised that we have a balanced budget for the 2011-12 year and that we continue to pay down the accumulated deficit at $3M per year. He feels that this is a fiscally prudent and responsible approach.

Mr. Donoghue provided an overview of enrolment trends for both domestic and international students in terms of the critical need for increased government support. To illustrate this point he reviewed the revenue streams and pointed out that tuition fees (40%) are now a higher percentage of revenue than government grants (38%). He noted that the growth estimates for enrolment are tied to capital. He explained that we have no additional office or research space at present which hampers faculty recruiting. There are caps on graduate and undergraduate enrolment by the government. The point being we need the capital to get the physical space to accommodate growth.

He then reviewed how the academic budgets are constructed in terms of revenue allocation. He explained that all divisions contribute 10% of their operating revenue to the University Fund and then it is distributed as the university feels it is warranted. He noted that where in past years UTM and UTSC were treated equally, he believes that we are also beginning to see differential treatment based on our experience. We have kept careful controls on spending and will continue to do so.

Mr. Donoghue then spoke to the two areas of continuing uncertainty, the first being the compensation settlements and the second being the pension debt. These are beyond our control and are either in the hands of the government or collective bargaining.

He drew attention to the pension problem. The current plan to resolve the unfunded liability is based on a fifteen year amortization plan. The government has not agreed to this yet and if they insist on a five year amortization the university will have $200M per year pension special payment. Historically, UTM has paid out $2M per year toward the debt. We will pay an additional $2.9M in 2011-12. There is a town hall meeting April 1, 2011 from 9am - 11am and he encouraged all members to attend. He also urged all to review the information available on the U of T HR website.

He concluded that we have a sound budget strategy going forward. He believes we are avoiding returning to higher debt and believes we will not need to go that route. Although prospects are good the money is still very tight.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member noted that there is a problem with downloading the pension issue to the staff and Mr. Donoghue again encouraged all to attend the meeting April 1, 2011.

Professor Saini commented that interest rates are as low as can be expected right now and if the rates go up the pension fund will begin to look much better.

A member asked for clarification around compensation noting that arbitrators usually provide increases even though the government calls for zero increases. Mr. Donoghue remarked that given the large proportion of our operating budget represented by compensation-related costs, any increases could cost millions of dollars.

b) Academic Affairs Committee: Report of February 16, 2011 -Professor Nick Woolridge

Before calling on Professor Woolridge to give report on the Academic Affairs Committee, the Chair recognized Professor Amy Mullin and congratulated her on her permanent appointment as the Vice-Principal and Dean.

Professor Woolridge reported that at the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) meeting held February 16th, the Committee heard a Review of Academic Programs and Units, the Annual Library Review, the Annual Research Report and information related to a new program proposal. Professor Woolridge called on the presenters to provide Council with an overview of their reports. He began by asking Vice-Principal and Dean, Professor Amy Mullin to summarize the Academic Programs and Units Review.

i) Reviews of Academic Programs and Units: Professor Amy Mullin

Professor Mullin presented the reviews of academic programs and units attached hereto as Appendix D.

Professor Mullin noted that reviews are now undertaken under a new framework. She reviewed the process of the new framework and explained that the focus of the external review should be on programs, research, teaching, governance and plans for the future as well as measures of quality assessment against national and international peers.

Professor Mullin then summarized the 2009-10 reviews which included Anthropology, Forensic Science and Historical Studies.

Professor Mullin then provided the findings and responses to each review.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member asked if it was the purview of a department chair to insist faculty teach larger classes. Professor Mullin noted that all departments need to develop workload policies and it is an important opportunity to ensure that workload is equitable.

Professor Woolridge then asked Chief Librarian, Ms. Mary Ann Mavrinac to summarize the Annual Library Review

ii) Annual Library Review: Ms. Mary Ann Mavrinac

Ms. Mavrinac provided Council with an overview of the Library Review that is available online at http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/library/review2010/. She explained that the theme for the 2010 review was "More than a Library" which she feels aptly reflects the transformation that the library is undergoing. Ms. Mavrinac then pointed out the table of contents of the review and touched on some of the highlights including: the new library website which she explained is currently student centred and that faculty focus will be the next initiative; and the major IT refresh of the library's public workstations.

There were no questions.

Professor Woolridge called on Mr. Devin Kreuger, Director, Research Affairs, to summarize the Annual Research Report.

iii) Annual Research Report: Mr. Devin Kreuger

Mr. Kreuger presented a visual summary, attached hereto as Appendix E, of the research report that Professor Krull presented to ACC on his behalf.

There were no questions.

Professor Woolridge then reported on the information provided to the Academic Affairs Committee by Ms. Melissa Berger concerning the New Program Proposal Approval process and that it was thought there would be a small possibility that the report would not be completed by the next scheduled AAC meeting date. Professor Woolridge reported that the proposal will now be ready on time for submission for AAC approval.

There were no questions.

The Chair announced that the next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday April 13, 2011.

The meeting adjourned at 4:25 p.m.